As COP26 comes to an end, criticisms pushing for more radical change will continue. These criticisms will undoubtedly be coming from the younger generation.

We have been praised for being so outspoken and passionate when fighting for climate change to be taken seriously, yet the endless empty promises call into question how genuine this really is. Are we really being praised? Or are they just saying this to keep us quiet? And this is where I think the problem with climate education lies. Too much is focused on telling us what’s wrong, and not enough is focused on how we can fix it.

It is for that reason I was glad to see fake protesters at the Mock COP26 event I attended. Whilst I, and many other 6th Form students, pretended to be negotiators and policy makers, mimicking the same empty promises likely made at the real event, other students from the host school (CLS) made posters and signs to put more pressure on us. Admittedly, it did not influence the decisions we made as we knew they weren’t real protestors, but it was important that they were present at the mock conference. It highlighted the importance of society in applying pressure to indifferent politicians, and showed that we all have a responsibility to push for change. Emilia Dowling, a student partaking in the event, recognised this and called it a 'valuable experience'.

The most accurate sign these mock protestors held read ‘Blah blah blah’. Appeasing the younger generation with weak targets and intangible action will not work. Feeding us a load of ‘blah’ policies will not work. As a generation, we need to put a priority on protest and pressure, and climate education needs to reflect this.

It is unlikely that government curriculum will encourage strong protest against the policies they make, so it is through informal education that we need to do this. The simplest form is reposting information and details of protest by social media. While this does have its drawbacks- frequent misinformation, reductive oversimplifications, and performative activism- when used properly it is one of the most efficient ways to mobilise thousands of likeminded individuals. I urge everyone reading this to recognise their power as a member of society to make meaningful change, and to recognise their responsibility in driving change in the things they care about.